Purpose for the Pain and Peace amidst the Why's

Sometimes a stronger, more realistic faith is birthed in the darkest of pits.                      ~Jo Ann Fore, When A Woman Finds Her Voice
I am no stranger to the reality of these words. I have experienced many hard things on this journey we call life. Most have. Or will...given enough years. Yes. It is a given. Suffering and pain happen in the world, at one time or another, to each of us.
   We live in a fallen world...and we are still suffering the effects of sin entering the world way back when Eve listened to the words of the enemy. He convinced her that what God had forbidden was actually good for her. And so...she took a bite of that fruit. At that moment, the moment of action, conceived from her doubt in God's all-consuming love and all-knowing wisdom, sin entered the world. The effects of that sin have continued on and will continue until Christ's return.

Still, while I can intellectually state the reality of why there is so much pain and suffering in this world, my heart still cries out in the hardest moments. Those times when I feel like I am wallowing in the depths of my latest 'pit' of despair..."Why Lord?"
  • Why is my son still suffering from the effects of his two 'strokes'? Why can he not live out his heart's desire to be married, be in full-time ministry, and have children by now? Surely these are godly desires!
  • Why are there times of frustration and misery in ministry? Shouldn't this be a joy?  
  • Why does my daughter suffer with the effects of her PCOS?
  • Why do people we love suffer with cancer?
  • Why do You, Lord,  sometimes choose to heal and other times not?
I get that there are direct effects from our own personal sin. I even get that you allow us to live out the consequences of those sins, even as you forgive. Your forgiveness, Lord,  is there...waiting for us to bring our wrecked lives before your throne of mercy.  But what about those times when we are suffering not due to our own sins but as a result of the sins of others, or just due to the fallen state of this world?

And then I remember...

When those times come to me now, I raise my Ebenezer!

In 1 Samuel 7, we read how Samuel is leading the Israelites as they are making an effort to turn back to God with all of their hearts. In the midst of this gathering of repentance before the Lord, the Philistines rose up against the Israelites to attack them. In hearing of this uprising the people pleaded with Samuel to keep crying out to the Lord on their behalf so that the Lord would hear and deliver them from the hand of the Philistines.  Samuel offered a sacrifice to God and continued praying.  God caused panic among the Philistines and they fell into confusion...thus giving the Israelites victory over their enemies.  Samuel then set up a stone, as was the habit of God's people, as a remembrance of God's help in their time of need.  He called the stone, Ebenezer, meaning stone of help.

So you see, I too raise my Ebenezer. My stone of help. In those times when I feel I am drowning in the why's of life, in the midst of a  new dose of suffering or pain it 'helps' me to remember those times. God carried me when I no longer had the strength to keep going. When the pain was too much to bear...He was there taking that pain on Himself, so that I could not only survive but come out on the other side a much stronger woman.

Sometimes, in His great love and mercy, God has given me a glimpse into some of the why's. Times such as this:
Sitting in the waiting room of the outpatient rehab hospital, I cried out to God, "Why Lord, why are you allowing my son to struggle once again. Why, Lord, would you allow Brad to be assigned to a therapist with an accent that isn't even close to his native language? How in the world is he ever going to learn the proper pronunciation of the English language, with this guy? Why does Brad even have to go through all of this again? Why do we all have to go through this again? Lord, you can heal him...please...why don't you heal him?"
 In the midst of my crying out to God, the therapist, the very one I was just complaining to God about, stepped into the hallway and asked me to join them in the therapy room. He had a few questions he wanted to ask.  You see, in the process of the therapy sessions, Brad had insisted that the therapist help him work on writing a sermon that he was working on in his own time.  Since writing is a part of speech therapy, the therapist had agreed to help Brad work on his sermon. I think at this point he was willing to do anything that would get my son to cooperate in the therapy sessions.  In the sermon, Brad was trying to go through the entire Bible beginning with creation, working through Moses and the exodus(including every one of the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea), basically hitting every single miracle in the Bible all the way up to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I was to learn that in the process of this, Brad had basically forced  his speech therapist to look at God's Word. Not only that, but this young man was Muslim and was beginning to question his own religion.  He wanted to know what kind of church we went to and what we taught. He said that his wife actually attended a Baptist church, but that he had never considered going to church with her or looking into her faith. He had been content with his own system of belief.  However, now...after going through the sermon with Brad over the past month or so, he was thinking of visiting his wife's church...he was ready to look into Christianity!  
You see...while I was out in the waiting room, crying out to God...well...more like complaining, my son was in there introducing his Muslim therapist to the One True God...the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 
"Okay God, I get it! That young man's eternal destination, his eternal salvation, is far more important than the instant healing of my son."
Sometimes God gives us those moments of clarity in the 'whys' so that we learn to trust in His wisdom, His timing, and His mercy. I have experienced enough of those moments to know that He is faithful and can be trusted with the why's.  As I begin to release the 'right' to always know why God works as He does, or even why God allows things to happen, peace sets into the depths of my soul. He becomes my hope, and my anchor in the storms of life.
There is a powerful shifting that takes place as we abandon the right to understand and we yield to God's working in our lives. ~Jo Ann Fore 
The words written in Romans 8:28 have become a working reality in my life…
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. 
Let Him give you hope and healing, love and laughter! Let Him walk with you and weep with you and then dry your tears. Allow Him to walk with you through your pain so that you can come through...healed and whole. Then use what He has done in your life to reach out to others who are still walking in their pain. Bring glory to the Lord for all He has done in and through you.

 Let there be purpose from your trials, your sufferings, your pain...and find peace amidst the why's!(tweet this)

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of  many lives.  ~Genesis 50:20 

Today am linking up with Jo Ann and other beautiful women, with freedom and joy and purpose to share our hearts and allow God to use us...our make a difference, to help women find hope and healing.